The British Government introduced body scanners in Heathrow and Manchester airports on 1st of February 2010. The scanners, which see through clothes to produce an image of the body violates Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – the right to privacy.
The body scanners are a counter-terrorism initiative which has been introduced in the wake of a failed attempt by 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up a US plane on 25th December 2009.
The IHRC strongly objects to the use of full body scanners. They are unethical and immoral as they show a person’s private parts and the outline of the whole body.
The IHRC also believes that since the selection criteria is not clear nor open to public scrutiny, individuals identified as being Muslim due to their dress/nationality/ethnic origin or choice of destination will be targeted.
The scanners will also breach the Protection of Children Act 1978, under which it is illegal to create an indecent image or a “pseudo-image” of a child.
The use of the body scanners is unnecessary since the body scanners will not be able to identify most types of explosives and alternatives such as a pat down search will be just as effective in finding explosives. Also, the scanners are not productive since the use is only when departing the UK. This means that there are large numbers of passengers who are entering the UK who could pose a threat to the UK.
The IHRC has written an open letter to the Minister for Transport, Phillip Hammond MP. Both Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg were invited to comment on the letter as well. The letter can be found at:
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